As we head into the second half of the 2021 NFL season, which players remain available on the open market? Which players could yet be set to make an impact for teams down the stretch and into the playoffs?
Top remaining free-agents available quarterbacks in 2021
1) Cam Newton, New England Patriots
2) Robert Griffin III, Baltimore Ravens
3) Blake Bortles, Los Angeles Rams
Since being released by the Patriots ahead of the season, Newton has not been picked up. However, with every passing QB injury, his name will continue to get traction. Griffin hasn’t formally retired quite yet, but he’s apparently drawing widespread interest as a television analyst by Fox and ESPN.
Top remaining NFL free-agent wide receivers in 2021
1) DeSean Jackson, Los Angeles Rams
2) John Brown, Denver Broncos
3) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
4) Golden Tate, New York Giants
5) Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
6) Dez Bryant, Baltimore Ravens
7) Devin Funchess, Green Bay Packers
8) De’Anthony Thomas, Baltimore Ravens
9) Marqise Lee, New England Patriots
10) Riley Ridley, Chicago Bears
There are some intriguing free agent wide receivers available, especially following the release of DeSean Jackson. John Brown is an intriguing name that remains on the market. When playing in Buffalo, he had a big impact on that offense and it is a surprise he has not been picked up.
Behind them are a group of veteran options, including Larry Fitzgerald. All of these veterans could be valuable as potential signings down the stretch given their experience in high-pressure situations.
Top remaining running backs on the market
1) Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
2) Frank Gore, New York Jets
3) T.J. Yeldon, Buffalo Bills
4) Alfred Morris, New York Giants
5) Kenjon Barner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even with the recent struggles and the knee issues, it is somewhat surprising that Todd Gurley has not got a look in at the position with injuries. After Peterson signed with the Titans, Gurley and Gore are clearly the next two best backs available if someone is looking for a feature back.
Top available 2021 free-agent tight ends
1) Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts
2) Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars
3) Josh Perkins, Philadelphia Eagles
Trey Burton still being a free agent is a surprise. He has had some really impressive years in the NFL and deserved another shot away from the crowded situation in Indianapolis. Eifert has had a tough career with injuries, but his talent could make him intriguing if a contender suffers an injury down the stretch.
Top available 2021 NFL free-agent offensive line players
1) Russell Okung, Carolina Panthers
2) Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs
3) Kelechi Osemele, Kansas City Chiefs
All three of these offensive linemen could yet be contributors in the remaining weeks of the season. If the Chiefs suffer an injury at either tackle position, Schwartz could be an option as he knows the scheme and would be comfortable on the line. Okung is an intriguing one because he is talented enough to be a left tackle in the league. It will be interesting to see if he gets a call down the stretch if we see any big injuries at the tackle position.
Best defensive players available in 2021
1) Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals
2) Damon Harrison, DT, Green Bay Packers
3) Olivier Vernon, EDGE, Cleveland Browns
4) Kawann Short, DT, Carolina Panthers
It is no surprise that the top available free agents are on the defensive line. With teams preferring to have a number of younger options, who they can rotate, paying a more experienced veteran has become a less desirable option. Additionally, playing in the trenches for multiple years will have taken a toll on all of these players.